This month we are proud to welcome a new product sponsor to the venture of building our jet hydroplane Longbow, the renowned Norwegian multinational paint and performance coating manufacturer Jotun, who have a presence in more than 100 countries around the world, including 37 production facilities spread across the globe.

The Jotun business was founded by Odd Gleditsch sr. in 1920 after he had worked upon whaling ships in Norway and became aware that marine paint suppliers for the local area sold pigments, turpentine and linseed oil separately, leaving it to their purchasers to mix them into paint. Because of this Odd recognised that there was a market for ‘ready made’ paints and initially purchased a small chemical factory called Jotun to produce them for boats and ships. For those thinking what is the difference between a boat and ship; a ship is for the ocean and a boat is anything else, so a ship can carry a boat but a boat cannot carry a ship!

Anyway from those humble beginnings the Jotun company ensured their paint and coating products were made available in all the principle ports around the world for ship owners to specify and these have since gone on to be used on everything from the Eiffel Tower, to the largest passenger ships in the world. This being the case we could not be in safer more knowledgeable hands with regards to the paintwork on our little boat.

This month as I am sure everyone is aware HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh sadly passed away and the following photograph shows this great man, Naval Officer and himself a very experienced qualified pilot, at St. James’s Palace in 1996 presenting our driver for Longbow, Lt, David-John Gibbs RN, with his Air League flying scholarship award.

Prince Philip wrote to us when our project was in its infancy offering his best wishes for the venture as he had a keen interest in the Outright World Water Speed Record having previously met and clearly enjoyed the company of the current record holder Ken Warby when Ken was awarded his MBE by the Queen in 1978 for his services to speed boat racing as shown in the following photo. 

Before we are able to apply the Jotun paint and associated product to their specification on the underside of the hull to Longbow, we had to finish applying the Dynel fabric to this area embedded within the WEST SYSTEM Epoxy supplied by our epoxy sponsor for the entire build, Wessex Resins. Once that was set into position and covered by peel ply fabric supplied by our sponsor Fibermax Composites, it was left to cure and then the peel ply removed as shown in the following photo taking with it the unwanted Amine blush, a waxy by-product coating. 

With all of the peel ply fabric removed along with any masking tape residue we were very pleased with how laying the Dynel to this considerable area of the hull had turned out:

The next task was to apply a fairing coat of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy mixed with WEST SYSTEM 407 Low density filler. Unfortunately and unusually for some reason there was a mix up with shipping the filler out to us and this held up progress with the build whilst it was, thanks to our good friend, Wessex Area Sales Manager Colin Fletcher, resolved. So last weekend we then were able to set about the task of applying the fairing coat to the upturned hull of Longbow as shown in the following photos:

Hats off to my long suffering wife Gill who worked her little socks off pumping out all the resin and hardener at the necessary 5:1 ratio and hand mixing it for the necessary two minutes to form a homogenous matrix. To this she then weighed and added the filler to a set ratio of epoxy gently mixing them together and handing it to me time and again, pot after pot, whilst I scrambled about on the hull of Longbow to get all the product down as quickly and continuously as we could between the pair of us. 

I have purposely not included a photo of Longbow at this stage as to my mind she looks an awful colour and like she has been covered in chocolate brown icing. I will allow a couple of more days for the epoxy to continue curing and then begin the task of block sanding all of the fairing coat down and revisiting any low areas with more product so all of that will no doubt keep me out of mischief for a while. 

In other news our good friend Dave Warby (whose birthday it was this month), tells us that he will be back testing his jet hydroplane Spirit of Australia II at Blowering Dam in Australia towards the end of May. It will be great to see Dave and his team out on the water again after their previous test due to take place at Taree had to be cancelled as a result of the terrible flooding they had suffered there. As always we wish him and his team calm weather whilst running SOAII, along with every success in the next stage of development runs and will report on how they get on in due course. 

Well that is all for this month folks. Please accept my apologies for this diary update being somewhat brief in comparison to previous ones, although some of you including my dear friend Neil, who has to convert my waffle and photos into the website diary posts, may consider that rather a blessing. 

Please drop by towards the end of May for the next diary update for the venture where no doubt amongst other highlights there will be photos of me covered in sanding dust and hopefully somewhere closer to being able to apply paint to the underside of Longbow. Of note we are still taking suggestions on colour choice for the craft to see what the consensus should be, however if you are going to write in with ideas for paint schemes, then may I suggest anything other than the horrendous chocolate brown she currently is please!

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